“Cox shines a light on America’s gun violence crisis through deeply personal and profoundly affecting stories of the children who live with its everlasting repercussions.”
An urgent and intimate account of the devastating effects of gun violence on our nation’s children, and a call to action for a new way forward.
Seven-year-old Ava in South Carolina wrote a letter to Tyshaun, an eight-year-old boy from Washington, DC. She asked him to be her pen pal; Ava thought they could help each other. The kids had a tragic connection—both were traumatized by gun violence. Ava’s best friend had been killed in a shooting at her school, and Tyshaun’s father had been shot to death outside his. Ava’s and Tyshaun’s stories are extraordinary, but not unique. In the past decade, 15,000 children have been killed from gunfire, and many more irreparably harmed.
John Woodrow Cox investigates the effectiveness of gun safety reforms and efforts to manage children’s trauma in the wake of these shootings. Through deep reporting, Cox addresses how we can effect change now, and help children like Ava and Tyshaun. He explores their stories and others—a couple whose eleven-year-old son shot himself, a Republican politician fighting for gun safety laws, and the charlatans infiltrating the school safety business. Children Under Fire weaves wrenching personal stories into a critical call for our country to embrace practical reforms to save thousands of young lives.
John Woodrow Cox is a staff writer at The Washington Post. He was a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in feature writing and has won Scripps Howard’s Ernie Pyle Award for Human Interest Storytelling, the Dart Award for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma, and Columbia Journalism School’s Meyer “Mike” Berger Award for human-interest reporting. He lives outside Washington, DC, with his wife, Jenn.
Children Under Fire: An American Crisis will be available for sale from Mystery Lovers Bookshop.
Protecting Pittsburgh’s Children from Gun Violence: A Public Health Crisis
For the first time in U.S. history, gun violence is now designated as the primary cause of death for children. This event is the first of three community forums hosted by The Pittsburgh Foundation, the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute of Politics and the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, to raise awareness and identify actions that can be taken to protect children. Learn more about the events, and how to lend your voice to the conversation.